Children ecstatic during first encounter with Santa (Video)
Nov. 17, 2012 at 5:17 a.m.
Updated Nov. 18, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.
WHERE: Victoria Mall
WHEN: Nov. 17-Dec. 24
HOURS: Monday through Saturday, Santa is available from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 2-5 p.m.; 6-9 p.m. and on Sunday from noon-2 p.m.; 3-6 p.m.
Breakfast with Santa
What: Share a meal with Santa Claus as a fundraiser for the Texas Stars Dance and Drill Team
Where: Victoria Mall
When: 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Dec. 1
Cost: Tickets are $7 and can be purchased from the Victoria AllStars Dance Academy, 125 Northstar Drive, in Victoria.
It was their first Christmas together as a family, their first Christmas in Victoria and the kids' first visit ever to see Santa Claus.
So when Krystle Gamez, mother of three, and her fiance, Josh Doyle, found out Santa would be arriving at the Victoria Mall on Saturday, they made sure to make it an event.
"They came in at like 6 or 7 this morning and were jumping on our bed," Gamez said about the kids. "They were so excited that Santa came in today. He (Doyle) took the day off work; I took off school. We just wanted to make a day of it."
As Santa drove up in a beeping Smart Car, Aiden, 6, Cody, 4, and Khloe, 3, all waited, jumping up and down for Santa to take his seat.
Since they were the first kids to get to talk to Santa, Aiden said he is pretty sure they will get what they asked for.
"That made it really special, to know they were the first ones to see him," Gamez said. "We were the first ones here, and it is our first Christmas together - it made it perfect."
Khloe, dressed to match Santa in a red dress, knew exactly what to ask for when she marched up to meet the big man for the first time.
"I asked for a kitchen because I'd like to have a kitchen. I love kitchens. I love cooking in the kitchen. I want to cook something for my daddy," Khloe said, clasping her little hands around Doyle's neck.
The two boys both asked for a Hot Wheels ramp.
"Because then I can get all my new Hot Wheels on the track, and they can have a race, and then maybe my mom can buy a trophy for the winner," Aiden said.
Gamez, who teared up watching the kids tell Santa their hearts' desires, said this Christmas is special.
"We have come a long way and to see how happy they are now, compared to years before, it is really great," Gamez said.
Gamez and the children moved to Victoria in May to be with Doyle. The two originally met in middle school and reconnected two years ago on Facebook.
"We dated for a year before I met the kids. We wanted to make sure it was going to work out because we didn't want to get their little hearts broken," Doyle said.
Gamez said they have had enough heartbreak, after she and the kids left an abusive home a few years ago.
"That was a big step for us, in general. We stayed with my dad, and we didn't have our own place. We had to share everything," Gamez said. "The hardship was us coming from an abused environment to where they feel safe. I just want them to feel safe."
Khloe, convinced Santa will bring her a "kissen" for Christmas so she can make pizza and chicken strips, will get exactly that, Doyle said.
"She already has a little kitchen, but it isn't big enough," he said. "I'm probably just going to build one out of wood."
Gamez said she has never seen her children so happy.
"It is just so great that someone who made me happy when I was little, too, is making my kids happy," Gamez said. "Who would have thought that?"
Victoria Mall near full capacity going into holiday shopping season, click HERE.